Bolivia Climate Change Monthly: September 2013

INESADWelcome to the September 2013 edition of Bolivia Climate Change Monthly where you will find the latest research, policy, donor activity, and news related to climate change in Bolivia*.

Academic Research Bolivia Climate Change

Climate change impact on countrywide water balance in Bolivia by Escurra, J. J., Vazquez. V., Cestti, R., De Nys, E. & Srinivasan, R. published in Regional Environmental Change

Abstract: There is increasing concern about the ongoing reduction in water supplies in the tropical Andes due to climate change effects such as glacier/snow melting resulting from rising air temperatures. In addition, extreme events and population growth are already directly affecting life and water renewability in the country. A countrywide integrated national plan for improving basin-scale water management in Bolivia is needed to assure water availability for agriculture, industry, mining, and human consumption. This study aims to provide a modeling tool to assess Bolivia’s past, current, and future water availability and identify basins at risk of water deficits. The Soil Water Assessment Tool was used to simulate the monthly water balance from 1997 to 2008, as well as the water balance projected to 2050 for the entire country. It considers possible changes in air temperatures and precipitation proposed by 17 Global Circulation Models as well as carbon dioxide projections derived from the Special Report Emission Scenario. Overall, model results were close to satisfactory compared to observations, with some exceptions due to lack of information for expanding the timeline and improving calibration. Based on the calculation of three hydrologic indicators, the study identifies basins that would be the most susceptible to water deficits for a baseline from 1997 to 2008, and in the event of the projected climate change, to 2050.

Assessing global biome exposure to climate change through the Holocene–Anthropocene transition by Benito-Garzón, M., Leadley, P. W. & Fernández-Manjarrés, J. F. published in Global Ecology and Biogeography.

Abstract: Aim: To analyse global patterns of climate during the mid-Holocene and conduct comparisons with pre-industrial and projected future climates. In particular, to assess the exposure of terrestrial biomes and ecoregions to climate-related risks during the Holocene–Anthropocene transition starting at the pre-industrial period.

Location: Terrestrial ecosystems of the Earth.

Methods: We calculated long-term climate differences (anomalies) between the mid-Holocene (6 ka cal bp, mH), pre-industrial conditions and projections for 2100 (middle-strength A1B scenario) using six global circulation models available for all periods. Climate differences were synthesized with multivariate statistics and average principal component loadings of temperature and precipitation differences (an estimate of climate-related risks) were calculated on 14 biomes and 766 ecoregions.

Results: Our results suggest that most of the Earth’s biomes will probably undergo changes beyond the mH recorded levels of community turnover and range shifts because the magnitude of climate anomalies expected in the future are greater than observed during the mH. A few biomes, like the remnants of North American and Euro-Asian prairies, may experience only slightly greater degrees of climate change in the future as compared with the mH. In addition to recent studies that have identified equatorial regions as the most sensitive to future climate change, we find that boreal forest, tundra and vegetation of the Equatorial Andes could be at greatest risk, since these regions will be exposed to future climates that are well outside natural climate variation during the Holocene.

Conclusions: The Holocene–Anthropocene climate transition, even for a middle-strength future climate change scenario, appears to be of greater magnitude and different from that between the mH and the pre-industrial period. As a consequence, community- and biome-level changes due to of expected climate change may be different in the future from those observed during the mH.

Media Coverage Bolivia Climate Change Monthly

Andean water ‘sponges’ being squeezed by changing climate, BBC News, September 4.

Blogs Bolivia Climate Change Monthly

$450/ha tax on deforestation could help curb forest loss in Bolivia, suggests new, September 1.

Press release about INESAD’s SimPachamama game.

Cambio climático y el boom de la quinua en Bolivia, Cambio Climático Bolivia, September 9.

An article which explores the benefits and disadvantages of the rising international popularity of quinoa. In the context of climate change, quinoa may play a key role in future food security, due to its high resistance to extreme climatic conditions. However, intensive farming of quinoa in parts of Bolivia is having a detrimental effect on the environment and actually making the surrounding regions more susceptible to the effects of climate change.

Gold mining leaves deforestation and mercuryBlue Channel 24, September 24.

Félix Carrillo, Coordinator of the Environment, Mining and Industry Foundation, explained to the press how the worst environmental impact of mining is not the use of mercury, as previously thought, but deforestation due to gold mining in the Amazon. Miners now have access to heavy machinery to aid them with their searches which destroys large areas of jungle.

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* This bulletin is intended for scientists, practitioners and others who are interested in climate change issues in Bolivia. Every care is taken to include all the relevant works published in the previous month, however, should you be aware of any research that has been accidentally overlooked, please email a link to


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